Les Petite Coquettes

Hors d’oeurves

Summer Lover


Beach House Crab Cakes

I am a summer lover.  The summer solstice is the time for listening to acoustics around a fire pit on the beach, Bar-B-Ques, picnics, and dining al fresco.  I muse over the flavors of the season and think of all of the wonderful foods I want to prepare during this glorious 13-weeks of fun in the sun.  My list is long.  This week I settled on crab cakes.  I discovered a new way to prepare crab cakes in the July/August 2017 issue of Louisiana Cookin magazine which I combined with a recipe for lemon crab cakes that I learned how to prepare at a cooking class hosted by Christina Dimacali called “Clean Your Plate” when I lived in Philadelphia, PA.  I call the new crab cake recipe, “Beach House Crab Cakes”.  It is a longtime dream of mine to own a beach house with a water front patio where I can entertain guests and have memorable summer dinner parties.  These crab cakes would star as one of the appetizers.  Until then; however, I am grateful for what I have right now.  1.) Access to the beach; 2.) a big beach blanket; 3.) a beach umbrella; 4.) a blue-tooth speaker to play my beach picnic playlist; and 4.) a beach bag packed with my beach house crab cakes and cucumber lime basil prosecco spritzer.

BEACH HOUSE CRAB CAKES

Makes about 8 crab cakes

Recipe adapted from Louisiana Cookin magazine, July/August 2017 issue

INGREDIENTS INSTRUCTIONS
1 tablespoon canola oil In a cast-iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat.

Add corn and bell pepper; cook until softened, about 3 minutes

Spoon corn mixture into a large bowl, let cool slightly

Add mayonnaise, green onion, mustard powder, salt, black pepper, Creole spice, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and egg; whisk until combined.

Fold in crab meat, bread crumbs and lemon zest

Refrigerate for 10 minutes

Shape mixture into 1/3-cup patties

 

Heat remaining oil in same skillet over medium heat.  Cook cakes in batches until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side, turning carefully with a spatula.  Let drain on a wire rack.

 

Serve with Dill-Cucumber sauce.  Garnish with dill, chives and a lemon wedge

4 tablespoons butter, melted
2/3 cup fresh corn kernels
¼ cup red pepper, diced
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup green onion, chopped (2)
1 teaspoon mustard powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1 pinch cayenne
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice + zest
1 pound lump crabmeat, drained
1 cup panko
DILL-CUCUMBER
½ cup plain Greek yogurt In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, dill, chives, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper.  Gently stir in cucumber.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (or Creole mustard)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup seedless cucumber, chopped

 

WATERMELON and FRIED CHICKEN, DONE UP


Watermelon-Shrimp Salad

Watermelon is one of the first foods that come to mind when I think of 4th of July bar-b-ques and picnics.  It’s a summertime favorite.  Sweet, refreshing, good for you.  Yet, the association of watermelon with Blacks in America, pictured as lazy simpletons, made for some distastefully juicy humor at the expense of a nation of people who loved the fruit as much then, as we all do today.

It was with the popular satirical blackface American theater performances from the 1830s through the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s that spread such racial stereotypes.

It’s disheartening to know that some Black people will not eat watermelon to this day because of this stigma, regardless of how good it for you.  Watermelon is soaked with nutrients, each mouthwatering bite has significant levels of vitamins A, B6 and C and is nicknamed “liquid love” because it is a rich source of citrulline, an amino acid that enhances male sexual performance (it relaxes and dilates the blood vessels much like Viagra) making this slave diet food all the rave of late.  It should be noted; however, that the sweet watermelon can be found in a medieval manuscript, the Tacuinum Sanitatis, which is a guide to healthy living based on an 11th century Arabic manuscript.  It’s what the angels eat.

As we celebrate the independence of the 13 colonies that represented America in 1776 from Great Britain with fireworks and feasts sure to include watermelon, it’s hard not to recognize that it wasn’t for almost another 100 years, by executive order in 1863 (the Emancipation Proclamation), that the Black people in America gained their independence; all the while, the nation’s laughing stalk. The United States is the largest producer of watermelon and no doubt the farmers of this crop in those early days were Black.  The under mindedness of the value placed on Black people and this bountiful crop was crude and shameful to say the least.  It’s glorious though, to see the influence and the evolution of both Black people in America and of the recipes starring watermelon.  It was the recipe on the cover of the July/August 2017 issue of Louisiana Cookin’ for Watermelon Shrimp Salad that inspired me to write this post.  It is a beautiful, flavorful summer salad that I instantly said yes to, a “done up” watermelon salad with a “done up” watermelon cocktail. I curated a cooking playlist to make this dish and another recipe from the New York Times for my beach picnic and discovered a song called Watermelon Man by Johnnie Taylor on Spotify, the Watermelon Man is super cool and appropriate for what I felt as I danced and cooked.  My Beach Picnic Playlist connected me even more to my cooking experience.

Watermelon Shrimp Salad and Pink Cadillac Watermelon Margaritas

Fried chicken, another American favorite, has negative connotations associated with Blacks and is also another common dish found in summer celebrations.  For my beach picnic I used a The New York Times  recipe for Fried Chicken Biscuits with Hot Honey Butter.  Talk about movin’ on up.  I enjoyed the results of the double-dredged crust for the fried chicken that the recipe called for.  One layer of flour and cayenne pepper and one layer of panko.  I would have customarily used the flour mixture for each dredge.  The recipe also called for the thigh, which I also like because its the juiciest part of the chicken, the dark meat.  A feeling of nostalgia overcame me while making the biscuits, that seems to always happen when I do anything related to baking.

Fried Chicken Biscuits with Hot Honey Butter

A signature drink is always a fun addition to celebratory dinners.  Aretha Franklin’s Freeway of Love named the pretty watermelon margarita, Pink Cadillac.  Trading out triple sec for Grand Marnier and for all of the health benefits of fresh watermelon juice makes this cocktail a high-end ride just like Aretha’s whip.

Pink Cadillac Watermelon Margarita

  • 2 cups Watermelon, cubed & juiced
  • 1 cup Silver Tequila, 100% Agave
  • 2oz Grand Marnier
  • 1/4 cup Lime Juice, juiced
  • 1/3 cup Simple Syrup, infused with orange zest

Watermelon and fried chicken is a mainstay in American cuisine with a cynical history no matter how we dress it up, it’s bitter-sweet, yet it is a part of  this nation’s food history that makes the fabric of this country.

Happy 4th of July ~ 2017

The Telltale Kitchen (cafelamour.me; alovecafe; gina’skitchen, spellbindingcuisine) reveals traditions, beliefs, myths and secrets of food and cooking.

Oh, Sooooo Hot!


This is the kind of dish that will make you lick the sauce from your lover’s lips, hips, do a back flip, and skip.  It’s that damn good! 

01-30-2015 Oh Sooo Hot Honey Wings

I discovered this hot honey wing recipe from a post to my Facebook  page from the National Honey Board. With a few modifications, it is all the rage at Café L’Amour!  I made it for a lunch date the other day, and let me just say, we unexpectedly celebrated Superbowl Sunday early (Go, Seahawks!!!).   With me as the quarterback, chicken wings in hand, the opposing defensive line tackled me before I could make the pass.  This is a good thing in the game of cooking with love.  I came out of the “nooner” a champion!  Go ahead and get you some pre-game action.

Sensuously yours,

Honey L’Amour

RECIPE

 OH, SOOOO HOT HONEY WINGS

Honey is everything in the world of aphrodisiacal foods, combined with fiery hot sauce, sweet molasses, and the flavorful Creole spices that make up this recipe, I guarantee you’ll have a love feast.  Serves 4

CHICKEN WINGS

INGREDIENTS SPICES & HERBS
2 pounds chicken wings, separate drummette from wing (discard …) 1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk 1 teaspoon red pepper ♥♥
2 cups flour 1 teaspoon black pepper ♥♥
  1 teaspoon chili powder ♥♥
  1 teaspoon garlic powder
  1 teaspoon onion powder
  Alternately, use Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning

 HOT HONEY SAUCE

INGREDIENTS
½ cup honey ♥♥
1 tablespoon molasses
4 tablespoons cayenne pepper sauce ♥♥ (Frank’s Red Hot)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

 ♥ = love stimulant

♥♥ = sexual desire stimulant

 AMOROUS COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

Oh, So Hot Honey Wings stimulate both love and sexual desire.  Burn a pink and red candle while making this sexy dish and visualize your wish for sweet love and a burning desire that’s hot like fire.

CHICKEN WINGS

  • In a cast-iron skillet, pre-heat canola oil to 160 degrees
  • Marinate separated chicken wings in the buttermilk for at least 30 minutes
  • Remove chicken wings from buttermilk and lay flat in a shallow glass dish and season both side of the chicken with the spices (spices should be combined)
  • Place the flour in a separate bowl and dredge each piece of chicken before dropping in the heated oil
  • Cover the skillet and let cook for approximately 6 to 10 minutes before turning wings over to cook on the other side (the internal temperature of the wings should reach about 160 degrees)
  • Drain chicken on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet

HOT HONEY SAUCE

Pre-heat sauce pan, add butter, molasses, honey and hot sauce, combine until well mixed; dip each chicken wing in sauce and return to the cooling rack; let set for a few minutes before plating.

Serve on a heart platter and eat with your fingers